Victoria’s Secrets: A week of fulfilled promises

(From l. to r.) Ernie and Catherine Canadeo, Joseph Carafano, Elisa DiStefano and Joan MacNaughton and Kevin O’Connor

It was a week of promises coming true, from the opening of the The Long Island Music Hall of Fame decades in the making, to raising desperately needed dollars for wounded soldiers in Israel, to Qatar keeping its promise of allowing Israelis to visit the World Cup, to a bar mitzvah boy getting his promise fulfilled.

For years, Ernie Canadeo had promised himself to create a music hall of fame and, on Nov. 25, his dream came true. 

The Long Island Music Hall of Fame opened to great fanfare in its new home in a charming Stony Brook Village building that had previously been a theater, but was forced to close due to COVID-19. 

The building’s owner Gloria Rocchio had been in “talks” with Ernie for years, but now the time was right and it finally happened! With a generous lease rate of $1 a year, it all came together and on opening night, with Ernie’s smile bigger and warmer than the sun, we gathered to congratulate him.

Kevin O’Connor with Gloria Rocchio, who owns the Hall of Fame building

I was so happy to see his promise to himself become a reality.

Michelle Barnet, another extraordinary person, made a promise to Israeli wounded warriors to help them. 

At Chelsea Piers, 1,000 people came together to support Belev Echad, the organization that provides rehabilitation services for Israeli soldiers injured in battle.

Several soldiers spoke that night about the help they received. It tore my heart to hear their wrenching stories of their being attacked and describing the injuries they sustained, their brush with death from those injuries and the terror of their journey back from hell.

Steve and Michelle Barnet give the Israel solidarity award to Judy in honor of her son’s service to the IDF.

Michelle and her husband Steve kept their promise to help them and even brought two tables of potential donors to the cause. 

I left feeling the power of my friend’s commitment to the incredibly brave Israeli soldiers and blessed to see that promise fulfilled.

Later in the week Rabbi Marc Schneier, the spiritual leader of The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, told the congregation of promises fulfilled by Qatar.

For years, he has been negotiating with the leadership of Qatar to allow Israelis to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Through years of building a relationship with Qatar, Rabbi Marc received multiple promises from them: to open the games to Israeli citizens, to have kosher food available and to offer direct flights from Israel.

Rabbi Marc Schneier reviews the menu of the first kosher kitchen in Qatar as rabbinic supervisors Rabbi Mendy Chitrik and Eliyahu Chitrik look on.

Since there are no diplomatic relations between the countries, it was an extraordinary feat. 

Once the government agreed to the terms, Rabbi Marc knew they had to have bagels served, labeling his efforts “bagel diplomacy.” The rabbi worked with Qatar Airways’ kitchens to bring kosher food to the kosher visitors.

Promises were fulfilled! Extraordinary!

But there was another promise.

Rabbi Marc had a family whose son was not willing to become a bar mitzvah and go through the training. 

Knowing the boy’s passion for soccer, the rabbi promised him if he did his work to prepare for his bar mitzvah, he would get him tickets to the World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar.

Hampton Synagogue bar mitzvah Sawyer Weiss with Brendan Schneier at the World Cup in Qatar.

Rabbi Marc officiated the bar mitzvah and, sure enough, sat next to him at the soccer match in Qatar!

Promises are part of living and fulfilling them is the joy in life!